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1938: The End of Illusions
 pg. 132 
German-Jewish refugee nurses hold five babies at a hospital in Sosua, Dominican Republic. The refugee settlement in Sosua was established after the president of the Dominican Republic offered his country as a haven for Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime. The Dominican government agreed to accept up to 100,000 European Jewish refugees in exchange for a million-dollar payment by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Fewer than 500 European Jews made their way to Sosua before the Dominican government halted the immigration project.
Photo: Ruth Kohn/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Myron C. Taylor of the United States delivers a speech at the Evian Conference, which was called to find homes for the tens of thousands of Jewish refugees. Taylor stated that "the time has come when governments ...must act and act promptly." Unfortunately, American isolationism and antisemitism did nothing to spur U.S. politicians to take meaningful action.
Photo: Wide World Photos/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
The Evian Conference

To Jews, the anticipated Evian Conference seemed like a godsend. The international conference, called by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was intended to offer refuge to the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Nazi-controlled Germany and Austria. Instead, in a horrible twist of irony, the conference sealed their doom.

From July 6-15, 1938, delegates of 32 nations and representatives of 39 private relief agencies (21 of them Jewish) met at the luxurious Hotel Royal in the French resort of Evian-les-Bains on Lake Geneva, near the Swiss border. Prior to the conference, President Roosevelt had made it clear that "no country would be expected to receive a greater number of emigrants than is permitted by its existing legislation." Taking advantage of Roosevelt's qualification, the national delegates, one after another, expressed sympathy for the Jewish refugees but also made excuses to say why their countries' doors could not be opened.

The Evian Conference offered no help to Jewish refugees. Moreover, by legitimating the Nazi claim that "nobody wants them," it became a critical turning point in Nazi-Jewish relations. The conference showed that forced emigration, which had been the centerpiece of Nazi Germany's anti-Jewish policy, was unworkable. Another solution for the Reich's "Jewish problem" would have to be found.
Photo: National Archives/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive

 July 25, 1938: Germany cancels the licenses of Jewish doctors.
 July 25, 1938: American radio broadcaster Father Charles Coughlin calls for the establishment of an American Christian Front to combat Communists and Jews. The Christian Front, which will come to fruition, will consist of mostly working-class Irish and German Americans. The organization will adhere to the beliefs that America is a Christian nation and that Catholics should march along with Protestants in a united Christian Front against the Jews.
 July 30, 1938: Henry Ford, an American industrialist and a leading antisemite, accepts the Third Reich's medal of the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. A year later, at the outset of World War II, Ford will claim that "the Jew bankers" are responsible for the war.
1938: The End of Illusions
 pg. 132 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.